CHRIS SUTTON: Gareth Southgate won’t have learned much about his England side after this no-match

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CHRIS SUTTON: Gareth Southgate won’t have learned much about his English side after this non-match … the most intriguing part of this game was an insight into his tactical plans

  • England was so dominant against San Marino that Nick Pope could have taken his phone
  • Gareth Southgate will not have learned much from the 5-0 beating at Wembley
  • The Three Lions showed great attitude to get World Cup qualifying on track
  • The most interesting element was Southgate’s decision to play with a back-four

What have we learned? First, being a San Marino forward has to be the most thankless job in football.

Second, Nick Pope missed a trick by not putting his cell phone in his sock to keep him busy. Three, Gareth Southgate decided to use this free hit as an opportunity to field a back-four. In doing so, he dropped his previously preferred back three.

That was probably the most intriguing element of this no-match at Wembley Stadium – along with Southgate revealing that he already knows his best XI for Croatia in England’s Euro 2020 opener. You wonder.

England's non-contest against San Marino will not have given Gareth Southgate much food for thought

England’s non-contest against San Marino will not have given Gareth Southgate much food for thought

He recently spoke to someone who knows Southgate and told me I could expect England to enter Euro 2020 with a plan to be versatile. The Three Lions boss wants to be able to use the back three against the stronger sides and the back four against the weaker ones to open them up.

They did that here with San Marino. England would always win this game against the world’s worst football team. It was just a matter of how many goals they would achieve.

The sight of San Marino trying to play it from behind was uncomfortable and they were punished for it. The players of England, to their credit, accepted this with an excellent attitude.

But I’d be surprised if Southgate came out of this game thinking he’d learned a lot about his men. For example, how do you rate Pope on this? England won. They are on their way to Qatar 2022. Now on Sunday to Albania.

Southgate's tactic was much more intriguing as he opted for a back four in the 5-0 thrashing

Southgate's tactic was much more intriguing as he opted for a back four in the 5-0 thrashing

Southgate’s tactic was much more intriguing as he opted for a back four in the 5-0 thrashing

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